Chess Reveals Character

"Chess Life" (photo by m.a.h. hinton)
“Chess Life” (photo by m.a.h. hinton)

The tie was broken yesterday by Sergey Karjakin in the World Chess Championship. Playing black he defeated the Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion.

I started playing chess online in earnest more than 15+ years ago. I remain a patzer.

Chess they say reveals character. A study of my chess game would reveal that I am both stubborn and impulsive. I am capable at time of flashes of a poor-man’s disciplined-brilliance, but then I will suddenly and inexplicably rush forward in a mad unplanned attack that could only defeat another patzer like myself.

But still I love the game.

Over the years I have read dozens of books about chess: the history, the philosophy, the strategies. I own five books on the English Opening. The only opening I ever play… the only opening I have played for 15+ years (stubbornness).

I have watched Magnus grow up over the years that I have been playing online and reading chess blogs and chess news. I used to teach a chess class in a middle school and would show YouTube videos of Magnus as a very young player to students. The students loved to see the young genius playing bullet matches.

I am rooting for Magnus even though according to chessgames.com he has only played the English Opening 44 times in his career.

Favorite Chess Quotes

“A player plays in order to live through an adventure. In playing, he overcomes – overcomes himself, circumstances, and fate.” – Anatoly Karpov

“During a game the tremendous burden of all possibilities weighs upon you, along with the passage of time. Therefore we play at full strength only in those moments when, consumed by the process of the battle, we merge with the game to such a degree that everything else ceases to exist.” – Anatoly Karpov

“You must take your opponent into a deep, dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.” – Mikhail Tal

“Chess is the art that expresses the science of logic.” – Mikhail Botvinnik

“Chess is life.” –  Bobby Fischer

“It has been said that man is distinguished from animal in that he buys more books than he can read. I should like to suggest that the inclusion of a few chess books would help to make the distinction unmistakable.” – Emmanuel Lasker

 

Chess is Life

bobby-fischer-Life-225x300I am by nature a collector – books, poems, sports cards, stamps, comic books, quotes.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about chess.

I started playing online chess about 8 or 10 years ago. Over those years I have read dozens of book about the game and the players, picked up and discarded many more. These are just a few of the hundreds of quotes I have collected about a game that is infinitely fascinating.

I hope you enjoy them:

Favorite Chess Quotes

“A player plays in order to live through an adventure. In playing, he overcomes – overcomes himself, circumstances, and fate.” – Anatoly Karpov

“During a game the tremendous burden of all possibilities weighs upon you, along with the passage of time. Therefore we play at full strength only in those moments when, consumed by the process of the battle, we merge with the game to such a degree that everything else ceases to exist.” – Anatoly Karpov

“You must take your opponent into a deep, dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.” – Mikhail Tal

“Chess is the art that expresses the science of logic.” – Mikhail Botvinnik

“Chess is life.” –  Bobby Fischer

“It has been said that man is distinguished from animal in that he buys more books than he can read. I should like to suggest that the inclusion of a few chess books would help to make the distinction unmistakable.” – Emmanuel Lasker

St. Eligius Pray for Us…

In one of my favorite chess quotes, writer Edward Lasker (not to be confused with chess great Emanuel Lasker) once said, “It has been said that man is distinguished from animal in that he buys more books than he can read. I should like to suggest that the inclusion of a few chess books would help to make the distinction unmistakable.”

Anyone who loves books inevitably buys more books than they can possibly read. If you live alone or have unlimited space, that may not be a problem. But if you live with other people (and I do), your valued collection quickly become someone else’s clutter.

At heart I am a collector: sports cards, bookmarks, stamps, but most of all books. If I find an author or sub-genre I like, I soon want to “fill out” my collection: shelves of Cormac McCarthy and Elmer Kelton; a pile of prematurely abandoned and unfinished post-apocalyptic paperbacks in a corner of a room; small blocks of books on fly fishing and chess scattered about the house; the list goes on, and on, and on….

This weekend I am going through books, trying to decide which ones need to find a new home. If you are a fellow collector, you know how painful this process can be.

There is not, I was surprised to learn, a patron saint for book collectors. It seems like a group in obvious need of intercession, if there ever was one. In my investigation, I did find two who may be able to help, though. Saint Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers and booksellers, is an obvious choice. But I am also including Saint Eligius, patron saint of coin collectors, precisely because I am certain that coin collectors share the same mental conditions that book collectors do. So this weekend I am calling on both Saints Francis and Eligius to watch over me and all book collectors. Wish us luck!